After starting construction in 2018, the Golden Gate Bridge's suicide prevention net system — a $211M project that was ideated back in 2015, but has since experienced a slew of setbacks, some spurred by the pandemic — is now set to be finished by November 2023, a full two years past its originally planned completion date.
Hundreds of potential suicides on Golden Gate Bridge are thwarted by citizen intervention, law enforcement, Golden Gate Bridge District Patrol, and California Highway Patrol each year. However, of those attempts, around 30 of those suicidal acts prove fatal; many of the bodies aren't even recovered, due to the turbulent nature of the ocean's waters that sit 200 feet below the 89-year-old bridge.
It took over 4 years from the start of construction in Jan 1933 for the Golden Gate Bridge to welcome pedestrians & cars onto its freshly paved roadways in May 1937, however, the concept for the Bridge was dreamt up well before the 1930s. Read more: https://t.co/dxR0S3OHTG pic.twitter.com/bLCLlBksAi— Golden Gate Bridge (@GGBridge) May 26, 2022
To prevent deadly jumps off the Golden Gate Bridge, the Suicide Deterrent System, which is a $211M project by the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District, will eventually place a 20-foot-wide net along the entire bridge, about 20 feet below the bridge's sidewalk. Initially, the project was set to debut in 2021, but a recent update on the transportation district’s website now says that the project is “expected to be completed in 2023.”
Deni Mulligan — who’s the general manager of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District — told the LA Times in August that when the network of nets is completed, it'll be nearly 100% effective in preventing people from taking their lives by jumping off the world-famous bridge.
Per the transportation district, the yet-installed nets will be sturdy — made of steel wire, each section supported by struts attached to the vertical parts of the GGB's stiffening truss — but they’ll be capable of causing injury on impact. It's a far better alternative to the more deadly reality that could come by falling hundreds of feet down into the cold seawater below.
"It's been a long, difficult process to get this done," said Paul Muller, who is the president of the Bridge Rail Foundation, to The Times of London. Muller also said that the transportation district approved an $824K training program this past Friday that's aimed to educate responders on how to recover people from the steel nets.
"But we're finally seeing the construction getting there, and we see a light at the end of the tunnel," Muller said in closing.
Insider noted the completed safety net (that’s still at least more than a year away) will exist alongside several strategies already in place at the bridge to stop people from jumping, which include on-site phones that dial crisis hotlines and volunteer organizations that patrol the bridge to help people in distress.
If you are in crisis, text "BAY" to 741741 for free, 24/7, confidential crisis support from Crisis Text Line. And if you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, you or they should call the San Francisco Suicide Prevention crisis line at 415-781-0500.
If someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide: do not leave the person alone; remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt; and call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.
Photo: Courtesy of Getty Images/Daniel Hallquist